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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Annie Mole on Facebook's New Timeline

You've probably been hearing a ton of press about Facebook's new Timeline and all of the recent changes they've made to the layout of the page. It might surprise some of you to know that I'm even on Facebook (
I'm here), as I never really make a big thing about my presence there. However, the new Timeline is making me re-think how I use Facebook.

Annie Mole's New Facebook Timeline

I watched the live feed of the Facebook F8 Developers conference last week and was seriously impressed. I have to use Facebook a lot for work, so that's why I was in the office until 8pm watching it.  Here are my tweets while I was watching F8 at the time.

As "Annie Mole" I could never really see the point of doing much on Facebook. I actually thought it would take page views away from my blog & having my own "real me" Facebook account as well, AND  a Twitter account was quite enough. I wanted Facebook to be the only social network that was about the "real me" and everyone I friended on that "real me" account were people I've met and like in real life or people that I've worked with over the years. The only reason I joined Facebook in November 2007 was to Like a few Tube related groups I was interested in.

If you have got the new Facebook Timeline (it rolls out in a few weeks), you'll be able to see my first comments on Facebook were "is wondering about having a Facebook profile" - November 30th 2007 - Some people then found me and wanted to friend me. I didn't really respond as I felt I had enough with the blog & Twitter. By 2008 I thought that was a bit rude, accepted a few friends, but still found it all too much so said "wants you to email her by the usual channels if you want to talk to her"

People still kept finding me on Facebook & tried to friend me. I still kept saying on status updates "I deliberately have no Facebook friends please email me if you wish to talk to me". Still people kept trying to friend me, so I gave up and thought, "OK will just pull in feeds from my blog as notes and that should do it".

That seemed to work for years and I still made the odd status update like "Please note I don't actively use Facebook, so it may take some time before I get back to you if you contact me here! Best to email me - thanks :-)"

Now I am re-thinking. The Facebook Timeline will allow me to very easily build an online scrapbook of Annie Mole's life since conception in 1999 to the present day. Obviously the "real me" is much older (it was my birthday on Saturday - thanks to those who came to my party), and I'm not sure if I can be bothered to scan in baby photos and update every significant event in my life. I'm over 40, that's quite a lot to add.

However, since building my Timeline profile yesterday, I saw that you could actually just start from the day that you joined Facebook and you didn't have to go back to your actual date of birth.

I tweeted at the time of the Facebook Developer's Conference that their VP of Product Management - Chris Cox was to me the most impressive speaker. I still cannot find a video of his speech, so the following badly filmed, and hardly viewed video will have to do - listen to it or watch it - it's only about six minutes long. It explains Facebook's thinking from November 2010 almost a year before they made the announcements about Timeline. They've been thinking about this for a long time, way before Google+ existed.

I studied Sociology at University. I'm a massive people watcher. I socialise a lot. None of these are big secrets or surprises. The internet has massively enabled me to socialise much, much, more than I could ever have done without it. Rather than being a blogger hunched over my computer and never going out it enabled me to meet so many interesting people. People I seriously would have never met without the internet.  People who are now some of my best & closest friends.

Poster at Richmond Station

To me, Facebook Timeline allows you to make the most out of the significant "Third Space" ("Home" & "Work" being the other two) - ie The Third Space is all of the many, many spaces where we socialise & meet people outside of work and home. It allows us to have one online space to store our collective memories of all those things we do with friends, family, colleagues, strangers, and all of our achievements within those spaces. It's entirely up to you how much you decide to display and share - Facebook will cleverly pull in some stuff it thinks is significant, but you can choose to hide those items from your Timeline.

It will certainly mean that when the day comes that I no longer write this blog, when I'm much older and much greyer and not using the Tube, at least I'll be able to look back at one page and say "Yes that's what I did for 10 or twenty years or thirty years". So thanks Facebook, I think I finally owe you one.

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